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When Positivity Becomes Toxic

Hey Party People,

If you’ve spent some time in the personal development space you won’t be surprised to learn that there is an intense focus on being positive, reaching for joy, and practicing gratitude. This blog itself is called the Attitude is Gratitude, and I’ve taken a deeper look at what gratitude means for me and my platform after gaining insight into this week's topic – Toxic Positivity!

I always strive to be conscious of how I am showing up in my posts and do my best to share from an authentic space. I want to own that life isn’t always sunshine and butterflies but that it can also be chaotic and uncertain. That’s real, but at the same time, it's really easy to get caught up in the culture of positivity because we think that’s what people want and need to hear. That might not be entirely true.

Ok, so what is toxic positivity?? Toxic positivity is a forced or false portrayal that everything in life is peachy keen. It shows up when we are pretending to be happy or when we push them harder feelings aside. This isn’t a healthy practice because it deters us from feeling the lows that life brings, and learning the lessons that those experiences offer.

A mantra that my previous mentor Rachel Hollis uses was, “act how you want to feel.” She gets you to clap and repeat that mantra like it's a switch and you can just turn on the happy or choose a new mood. Another practice she uses is a countdown. You count down from 5 and then force yourself to move, dance, or jump up and down to create energy. Now in some ways, these kinds of practices can work and they can shift our moods at the moment. I’m a firm believer that our perspectives and mindset play a huge role in how we feel from moment to moment. I also still believe that it's possible to shift from a lower vibration to a higher one simply by choosing to.

These mantras and practices become toxic when we don’t come back to feelings we push aside. We can’t outrun these less desirable feelings or thoughts forever (as hard as we might try – myself included!) Instead, we need to connect and feel those feels and yeah that might mean having a shitty day. But guess what? You’re ALLOWED to have a shitty day!

Another area where I was influenced to act in a very positive way was my previous workplace. No matter how busy we were or how massive the weekly workload was we put on a smile. I once loved this leadership characteristic and I adopted it myself. By choosing positivity and acting bubbly and happy, things didn’t seem as stressful or overwhelming. But that wasn’t real, not entirely anyway. This positive environment instead created a reality of how we wished our workplace to look and feel, rather t